George Floyd murder a reminder of Lassana Cisse’s brutal killing in Malta

People of colour in Malta too suffer from racism and oppression: gay rights NGO’s timely reminder

Lassane Cisse, murdered in April 2019
Lassane Cisse, murdered in April 2019

The US protests sparked by the racist murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer have been marked in Malta by a message of remembrance for Lassane Cisse, murdered in a drive-by shooting by two former AFM soldiers. 

Cisse lost his life in April 2019 2019 while walking home to Hal Far, when two young army soldiers, driving in a car, shot at him and two other black men. Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech stand accused of having shot Cisse dead in cold blood, but were granted bail eight months later

“If you are shocked at the protests in the US and worldwide, take a moment to bring it home,” human rights organisation Aditus Foundation said. 

“Remember that in 2019 Lassana Cisse was killed in Ħal Far. Remember that two soldiers, duty-bound to protect the nation (all of it) remain charged with his murder. Remember that the best we could do as a nation was order an internal inquiry. 

“Remember that in 2020 the inquiry by the AFM about the AFM found no sign of racism in the AFM. Next time you express shock, disbelief, anger or sadness about George Floyd, remember Lassane Cisse.” 

46-year-old George Floyd suffered a cardiac arrest while being restrained by Minneapolis police. His death has sparked outrage and protests across the United States. The video showing a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck even after he pleaded he could not breathe has reignited deep-seated anger over police killings of black Americans. 

The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and will appear in court next week. Three other police officers have been fired. 

The riots in Minneapolis coincide with the start of Pride season for the gay community, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the Allied Rainbow Communities NGO.

ARC said pride was an occasion to celebrate all diversities – the keyword used here is intersectionalities, that is, diversities of race, orientation, gender identity, and more. 

“It’s not pride if it is racist... Pride was born as a result of the refusal to police brutality and systemic oppression. Never forget, the uprising of Stonewall in NYC was led by a black, trans woman, Marsha P. Johnson. 

“The LGBTQ+ community in Malta has also faced persecution by authorities and homophobic/transphobic violence over the years, and only our collective and organised action challenged the dominant discourse and earned us the right to marry whomever we love, to form a family and to be protected from harm, hatred and discrimination. 

“As an unrepentant part of a proud minority, we must not forget the plight of those who are still oppressed. Our fight for justice, equality and freedom can and will never be over.” 

ARC said that it was undisputed that people of colour in Malta are a minority that still suffer from oppression and racism. “Faced with even more hate, are the refugees and asylum seekers, from African countries, living in Malta. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has exacerbated racism from all fronts and Human Rights are being gambled for the sake of gaining political mileage and populist victories.” 

Whilst Malta’s LGBTQ+ community is predominantly white and European, ARC said even this group had to recognise its white privilege and learn from the discrimination they had themselves suffered “and transform our strength into compassion and solidarity. It is our turn to be allies for a minority which has been suffering for too long. Pride is an occasion to celebrate all diversities with all our intersectionalities. There is no place for hate, only love.” 

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